The Most Fatal Ailment

These issues are yet again the problem of our age. Their seeming trajectory towards resolution post WWII, with widespread prosperity and a rising middle class, has been undone. What undid them points to the underlying problem: Immediate causes include the spectacular increase in financialization and unearned rents, the lack of and lack of enforcement of progressive taxes, both in turn largely due to a shift in the public's understanding of these issues. What caused this shift in public understanding is the age old problem—power and the lack thereof.

The Souls of the People

This sixteen-part series, The Souls of the People, will explore these issues and the ideas and economics behind them. The values, origins, economics and philosophy behind the call to "cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub" (Norquist). The creation of think tanks specifically to provide a pseudo-intellectual foundation for inequality, and that along with media convince the middle class to vote against their own interests. The rise, reasons for, and effect of beliefs that markets without law allow for full employment and that wage laws cause unemployment. That competition alone can bring about good working conditions. The rejection of progressive taxes, and of the right to avail ourselves of the power and resources of the country through organizing public goods. And most importantly, how all of these are maintained by laws that impoverish the powerless and enrich the powerful, and thus are self-perpetuating.

Good “Mainstream” Econ Podcasts still get basics wrong, frustrating

There are some great mainstream economic podcasts that I enjoy, such as Odd Lots and NPR's Planet Money. They cover interesting topics and are very well done production-wise. However, several times I have wanted to rant about basic mistakes but never bothered. But just listened to this otherwise interesting Planet Money podcast - February 24, … Continue reading Good “Mainstream” Econ Podcasts still get basics wrong, frustrating

Democracy & Profligacy: Will MMT Destroy the World? Part III

Part I, Part II Part III continues with Edmond’s first three examples: New Zealand throughout the 1980sFrance in the early 1980sIsrael mid 1980s hyperinflation France For starters, as in the cases in Part II, we see the twin oil supply inflationary events of the 70s/early 80s. In France, there is a steady and sharp decline … Continue reading Democracy & Profligacy: Will MMT Destroy the World? Part III

Democracy & Profligacy: Will MMT Destroy the World? Part I of III on the Government Spending→Inflation Myth

Prologue The worry about a "danger" from understanding how government actually functions/spends was already famously stated by Paul Samuelson decades ago: I think there is an element of truth in the view that the superstition that the budget must be balanced at all times...Once it is debunked, [it] takes away one of the bulwarks that … Continue reading Democracy & Profligacy: Will MMT Destroy the World? Part I of III on the Government Spending→Inflation Myth

Inflation & Unemployment: Fiscal actions (i.e., “daily governance”) & Banking Regulation Work. Monetary “Policy” Does Not

Any argument that there is a “fiscal policy versus monetary policy” debate that somehow suggests we primarily rely on the latter is misspecified. You cannot not be primarily “doing fiscal,” it is simply not possible. (Whether done well or not is a different issue; the very belief that somehow fiscal takes a backseat is the key reason it has been done poorly for decades).

A (very) oblique history of MMT, Part III: (Blogs, Mitchell etc.)

"What happened to get the ideas out was the development of blogs.So Bill developed a blog...This is how the ideas got out. It wasn't through academics. It wasn't through the conferences—those are almost a complete bust. It was the blogs.L. Randall Wray (11 min mark generally, 14 min mark for these qts) A (Very) Oblique … Continue reading A (very) oblique history of MMT, Part III: (Blogs, Mitchell etc.)